Saturday, 24 September 2011

Niamh Moloney is a voice for voiceless embryonic children

Niamh Moloney, an active SPUC supporter and now a natural fertility practitioner, appeared recently on Channel Four's 4thought.tv, speaking about the question: "Should embryonic stem cell research be allowed?" (video of Niamh) (Anthony Ozimic, SPUC's communications manager, appeared in June, speaking on the question: "Should organ donation be made compulsory?" and I appeared in November, speaking on the question: "Is abortion even justified?")

Niamh spoke in an attractively informal and personable way, saying:
"Embryos are voiceless, they can't talk and someone's got to stand up for them."
Well done Niamh and thank you for being a voice for voiceless embryonic children.

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Friday, 23 September 2011

Defending parental rights in Northern Ireland

An SPUC Northern Ireland conference entitled Defending Parental Rights will take place on Saturday 10th March 2012 at Belfast Castle in the north of the city.

Speakers will include Pat Ramsey (SDLP MLA and deputy chairman of the Stormont All-party Pro-life Group) and Jim Wells (DUP MLA, deputy chairman of the Assembly’s health committee).

Prof David Paton (Nottingham University School of Business) and Dr Patrick Fagan* (Director of the Marriage and Religion Research Institute, Washington DC), pictured, will also address the conference. It will look at the current practice of providing birth control to children under the age of consent without the knowledge of their parents and the impact of this policy on family life.
*Patrick F. Fagan
Senior Fellow and Director, Center for Research on Marriage and Religion


Patrick F. Fagan is Senior Fellow and Director of the Marriage and Religion Research Institute (MARRI), which examines the relationships among family, marriage, religion, community, and America's social problems, as illustrated in the social science data. The Center has a particular emphasis on the relationship between marital stability coupled with the practice of religion and their joint impacts on our social infrastructure (issues such as happiness, health, mental health and general well being, income and savings, educational attainment and family stability as well as such negative outcomes as poverty, crime, abuse, and drug addiction).

A native of Ireland, Patrick Fagan earned his Bachelor of Social Science degree with a double major in sociology and social administration, and a professional graduate degree in psychology (Dip. Psych.) as well as a Ph.D. from University College Dublin.

Patrick Fagan started his career as a grade school teacher in Cork, Ireland, then returned to college to become a psychologist, going to Canada to practice then to Washington, D.C. to pursue a doctorate in clinical psychology. In 1984, Fagan moved from the clinical world into the public policy arena, to work on family issues at the Free Congress Foundation. After that he worked for Senator Dan Coats of Indiana, then was appointed Deputy Assistant Secretary for Family and Community Policy at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services by President George H.W. Bush, before spending the next thirteen years at the Heritage Foundation where he was a senior fellow.
Contact Liam Gibson for further information at liamgibson@spuc.org.uk

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Thursday, 22 September 2011

Disabled babies are killed because of a "lack of imagination"

Alison Davis, leader of No Less Human a group within SPUC, has responded to an appalling story that parents in Florida have successfully sued medics for failing to inform them that their child was disabled, on the grounds that had they known they would have aborted their child.

Bryan Santana, the child of Ana Majia and Rodolfo Santana, was born with no arms and only one leg. He is now three years old.

Alison writes:
It has been reported that a Florida (USA) couple have been awarded $4.5 m to buy equipment for their son Bryan, who was born with no arms and only one leg. The "damages" suit was brought by Ana Majia and Rodolfo Santana under the Florida State "wrongful birth statute" under which parents can sue an obstetrician or hospital for "negligence" in not noticing, and/or not informing them of their child's disability. Mr & Mrs Santana claim that had they known that their son would be disabled, they would have aborted him. In other words, the fact that they were not warned in an ultrasound that their son had disabilities denied them the chance to kill him before birth.
Florida is one of 25 US states which have a "wrongful birth statutes" like this, suggesting that disabled children not only have no right to life, but actually have the contrary right - the right not to be born.
The $4.5m which Mr & Mrs Santana have been awarded is only half the $9m "an expert" claimed was necessary to aasure Bryan's future throughout his 70 year estimated lifespan. It should be noted here that some thirty years ago, when I first became involved in the pro-life movement, doctors and hospitals worldwide were claiming that abortion for disabled was necessary because the child would not live very long. It would seem that now it is being claimed that killing disabled unborn children is "necessary" because they will live a long time. Would it not be more honest to simply say "disabled people are unwanted and should be killed at any age"? Of course, this is what the infamous Australian eugenicist philosopher Peter Singer, who now teaches philosophy and ethics (sic.) and the supposedly "prestigious" Princeton Unversity USA has been saying for as long as I can remember.
This case takes me back to the very early days of my pro-life work. One of the first cases I read about, which was pivotal in my change of mind from being pro-abortion to being pro-life, was that of a baby named Louise. She was born in 1979 in High Wycombe Hospital and was immediately found to have both spina bifida and hydrocephalus. Her paediatrician, Dr. Donald Garrow, persuaded her parents that she would be "better off dead" as she would be unable to walk, and would thus compare herself unfavourably with her two able-bodied sisters. He then sedated her so she was too sleepy to cry for food, and she eventually died of starvation and dehydration. Dr. Garrow made a video of her last days which was shown on daytime TV, and which I saw. Louise's face was grey, her eyes sunken. She had stick thin arms and legs but a bloated stomach, and looked much like the victims of starvation due to famine which elicit our sympathy, and often our financial help, whenever they are seen on TV.
I wrote to Dr.Garrow at the hospital and explained that I was disabled to just the extent that Louise had been, and that I felt he had made a horribly wrong decision. In response he invited me to speak to his "team" at the hospital, which I accepted. I cannot remember exactly what I said, but I pointed out that life with spina bifida and hydrocephalus could be full and happy, and that it was in any case wrong to deliberately kill any child on grounds of his/her disability.
Dr Garrow then took me on a tour of his ill-named "Special Care Baby Unit." One cot had been pushed apart from the others and as he removed the baby girl's blanket, I saw that she had no arms or legs. Dr. Garrow pointed this out (as if it were not obvious) and told me that the baby's mother was 14 years old and the father 13 years old. He asked if I thought that this baby too would a good future. It should be noted here that both this baby's young parents wanted her to live, so he was arguing against their wishes.
I remember replying something along the lines that I could not foresee the future, but that I knew a young man named Eddie from a swimming club for disabled people I attended before I left home to go to university. Eddie also had no arms or legs, in his case due to his mother having taken the drug thalidomide during pregnancy. Eddie loved being in the water, with a rubber ring around him, and his wit and sense of fun made him a very popular member of the club. He attended a mainstream school, which was adapted not just for him but for any student who used a wheelchair and needed an accessible environment. I lost touch with Eddie when I went away to university, but only a few years ago I read in a local newspaper about another member of the same club, Ronnie, who was born with no arms, again because his mother had taken thalidomide. He had just started his own business as a mobile DJ, driving to each "gig" in his car, adapted to be driven just by his feet, and also working the equipment with his feet.

In the last few years I met a most charming young man in a remote Indian village who has no arms and only one useable leg. He has none of the advantages that Eddie or Ronnie had, and none of the huge amount of money that has now been made available to pay for Bryan's care. However, was also going to school with his peers and was accepted by them, his teacher, his family and his community.
It is lack of imagination, not pity, which causes doctors to dismiss the lives of disabled babies as "not worth living". I hesitate to comment on the reasons why parents feel they "deserve" huge sums of money, when what they need most is love and compassion from their families and communities and a realisation that their disabled children, like every other child, has the right to life. It is their loss to think that money can buy what only unconditional love can give - acceptance and the will to find solutions to problems that need not cost millions of dollars - or even hundreds of dollars.

To return to my meeting with Dr. Donald Garrow, who in a sense was the catalyst to my changing my mind on abortion, I asked him a question as I left his hospital on the day I met the limbless baby. I asked whether he would have treated me by ending my life in the same way as he had Louise. His reply was among the most chilling things I have ever heard. He said "No, because you have a pretty face."
Dr. Garrow died on 24th February 2001. Having also later changed my mind on religion and moved from being an atheist to being a Catholic, I pray daily for his soul and the souls of all doctors who think death is the answer to life's challenges.
This lawsuit and the laws which allow such a case to be successful are deeply offensive. The message is being sent to disabled people everywhere that they are not wanted.

Alison's analysis that it is a lack of imagination, rather than pity, that convinces individuals to kill rather than care for the disabled rings true. I would add that it suggests a chilling arrogance for any individual to diagnose the life of another as not worth living.

People with disabilities have an enormous amount to teach us about what it truly means to be human, as the following video makes abundantly clear.


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Today's must-read pro-life news-stories, Thu 22 Sep

Paris pro-lifers attacked
Top stories:

Major pro-life conference was great success
The 2011 annual national conference of the Society for the Protection of Unborn Children (SPUC), held this past weekend (16-18 Sep.), was a great success. Numbers of young and new delegates were up on previous years. The conference started on Friday (16 Sep.) evening with presentations by SPUC's youth activists reporting enthusiastically about the many different facets of their pro-life outreach. [SPUC, 20 September] http://bit.ly/qPS4HL

Milton Keynes public meeting to hear parents' worries about explicit sex education
A public meeting will be held next Wednesday (28 Sep.) evening in Milton Keynes to hear parents' worries about explicit sex education programmes in primary schools. Antonia Tully, coordinator of Safe at School, SPUC's nationwide campaign for parents concerned about explicit sex education, has been invited to Milton Keynes to explain how graphic sex education is priming young children for teenage sex. The meeting has been organised in response to the concerns of local families. [SPUC, 21 September] http://goo.gl/TnzqW

Peaceful pro-life demonstrators violently attacked in Paris
A group of pro-lifers holding a peaceful vigil outside a Paris hospital have been attacked violently by pro-abortion activists. The pro-lifers were pelted with eggs, their banner stolen, their car pounded and they were subjected to violent threats. Riot police were called to protect the pro-lifers. [LifeSiteNews.com, 20 September] http://goo.gl/66sC4

Other stories:

Abortion
Euthanasia
Population
Sexual ethics
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Wednesday, 21 September 2011

Support vigils to stop abortion

Next week the 40 Days for Life London team begin their third forty day vigil for an end to abortion. The vigil consists of forty days of prayer, fasting and continuous witness outside of a London abortion facility. 40 Days for Life joins in solidarity with our unborn brother and sisters and offers women, men and all those involved with the abortion procedure genuine hope, and a better choice than abortion.

This is an absolutely vital and truly effective pro-life work. For those unfamiliar with the practice of praying and counselling outside an abortion facility, the movement was founded by Monsignor Philip Reilly, who I had the privilege to hear speak earlier this year. Monsignor Reilly founded the Helpers of God's Precious Infants, who pray and counsel outside abortion facilities throughout the year.

As a Londoner, the positive impact of these forty days vigils is very apparent to me. After the first forty day vigil in London, the Good Counsel Network established a daily vigil outside the Marie Stopes clinic in Whitfield Street.

It is also exciting to see that Birmingham is launching its own 40 Days for Life campaign.

In May Monsignor Reilly told us "Unborn children should not die alone". They need us praying for them, for their mothers, and for the abortionists, and loving them before they die - just as Mary and the others did for Jesus.

He told us that the pro-life movement was maintaining the light as the world goes into darkness - and just as a light shines clearly and brightly in the darkness, so does the pro-life movement.

He told us that the abortionists need our presence more than the unborn children do.

He tells the countless mothers who tell him how much they regret their abortion: "You're a mum forever. Your child is with God."

No evil has ever taken place in the world, he said, which did not produce a greater good. The greatest evil which has ever taken place in the history of the world was the Crucifixion of Jesus. And the Crucifixion of Jesus produced the greatest good in the history of the world: our redemption. The culture of death is so bad, Monsignor Reilly said, it's hopeful!

Monsignor Reilly believes that the primary purpose of these vigils is to save souls. There is no doubt, however, that they also save a tremendous number of lives and give great hope to the pro-life movement. Therefore I ask that you please support these events in whatever way you can.

Both the London and the Birmingham groups launch their vigils next Tuesday 27 September.

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Milton Keynes public meeting to hear parents' worries about explicit sex education

Milton Keynes
A public meeting will be held next Wednesday (28 Sep.) evening in Milton Keynes to hear parents' worries about explicit sex education programmes in primary schools.

Antonia Tully, coordinator of Safe at School, SPUC's nationwide campaign for parents concerned about explicit sex education, has been invited to Milton Keynes to explain how graphic sex education is priming young children for teenage sex. Mrs Tully, a mother of five school-age children, will be showing video clips from classroom teaching resources, aimed at seven year olds, which show sexual intercourse. The meeting has been organised in response to the concerns of local families.

The meeting is being supported by local Muslim groups. All parents (non-Muslim and Muslim) are urged to attend to find out how to uphold their rights to protect their children from sexualisation in the classroom.

The meeting will be held at Meadfurlong School, 1 Fishermead Boulevard, Fishermead, Milton Keynes, MK6 2LB, starting at 6.30pm, Wednesday 28 September.

For more information, please contact Antonia Tully on (020) 8407 3463 or safeatschool@spuc.org.uk

The meeting is being supported by:
  • Milton Keynes Tamil Forum
  • Milton Keynes Muslim Association
  • Sri Lankan Muslim Community Foundation Milton Keynes
  • Milton Keynes Islamic Society
  • Milton Keynes Islamic Arts Heritage and Culture Organisation
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Tuesday, 20 September 2011

The Schindlers' book on Terri Schiavo is a must-read for all pro-lifers

Bobby Schindler (2nd r-h) & SPUC activists
Alison Davis, the national co-ordinator of No Less Human, a group within SPUC defending disabled people, has kindly sent me her review and recommendation of a book by Bobby Schindler and family about their late loved one, Terri Schiavo. Bobby gave the keynote address to this past weekend's SPUC 2011 annual national conference. Alison writes:
"This book tells the whole, horrific story of the Schindler family's long drawn out battle to save Terri's life against increasingly vindictive and aggressive attempts by her husband, Michael Schiavo, to ensure that she would die. Those who had the privilege of hearing Bobby speak at the recent SPUC conference will know how incredibly tough it was for his whole family, but perhaps particularly for his parents, who were forced to watch their beloved child die a most horrible death of dehydration and starvation in the richest country in the world. One can only surmise how tough it was for Terri, who suffered and died without being able to protect herself, or protest against this barbaric treatment, and who thus relied on her family and her friends (of whom she now has millions worldwide) to save her.

I would urge anyone who wants to know more, as well as those who have not yet heard Bobby speak, to buy a copy of the book, and to read it straight away. It is searingly honest, and shows all too clearly the battle that lies ahead for us in the UK, now that the Mental Capacity Act can be invoked to allow the killing by dehydration and starvation of some vulnerable people.

On a personal note, I have some very small inkling into the horror that Terri faced. I am now using a type of external ventilator for at least 8-9 hours every night. It keeps me alive, so to complain about it too loudly would be churlish. However, despite having the "humidifier" set on "maximum" my mouth gets extremely dry, and I need to have a drink (by straw, a technique I have yet to fully master) at least every half hour. Even by that time my mouth is so dry my teeth are sticking to my gums, a sensation I find unpleasant. However, I am in the fortunate position of being able to have a drink whenever I want one, and thus alleviate the discomfort.

Terri Schiavo lived 13 days without food or water. I cannot even imagine the effect on her of this slow torture, or the extent of her suffering.

Every pro-lifer needs to read this book, in order to understand what the pro-death lobby really wants (not "choice" but death for those who cannot speak for themselves), what battles lie ahead for pro-life families of people with severe learning disabilities, and the necessity of doing all we can as long as we can, to protect vulnerable people from such torture.

Here are details of the book:

"A Life That Matters: The Legacy of Terri Schiavo - A Lesson for Us All" by Terri's Family... Mary and Robert Schindler with Suzanne Schindler Vitadamo and Bobby Schindler. Copyright 2006 Warner Books (Time Warner Book Group) New York. The Book is available from Amazon UK at a variety of reasonable prices depending on whether you want a hardback or paperback version, and also on audio CD."
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Monday, 19 September 2011

God be with you Dana in your bid for the Irish presidency

I do hope I get some sleep tonight.

I go to bed this evening having read the worldwide news that Dana Rosemary Scallon, the international recording artist, and one of Ireland's most successful entertainers, has announced that she will be seeking a nomination for the forthcoming Irish presidential election.

Dana's was singled out prophetically a few weeks ago by one Irish columnist who said she was "politically shrewd, utterly sincere in her Christian beliefs and has a personal charm that's conspicuously lacking in some of her rivals."

Dana, a former Member of the European Parliament, has always been a defender of the Irish constitution.

At the beginning of this year, Dana joined an alliance of over thirty cross community groups calling for absolute protection for unborn children prior to the Irish general election in February. The alliance called on party leaders to sign a pledge to defend human life at all stages, from conception until natural death and that if elected:
  • They will not dismantle Ireland’s Constitution and will maintain the people’s sovereign and democratic right, in final appeal, to decide all questions of national policy according to the requirements of the common good.
  • They will respect and uphold the Constitutional right of the Irish people to decide on Ireland’s unique pro-life status.
  • They will not legislate for abortion and will absolutely oppose any attempt by unelected judges from the European Court of Human Rights, (ECHR) to usurp the Constitutional right of the Irish people to decide on abortion.
I pray that all Irish citizens who care about Ireland's historic defence of the sanctity of human life, and that all Irish citizens who care about defending their constitution, will get behind Dana's bid for the presidency.

God be with you Dana. 

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Peter Saunders given Pro-Life Hero 2011 award at SPUC's annual national conference

At SPUC's 2011 annual national conference yesterday, Peter Saunders, campaign director of the Care Not Killing Alliance and head of the Christian Medical Fellowship, was given the Pro-Life Hero 2011 award.

He was chosen for the award by SPUC Evangelicals, whose patrons include leading national Christian figures such as Dr Peter Forster (Anglican Bishop of Chester), Baroness Caroline Cox, Tim Montgomerie (Conservative Home) and Anne Atkins, the broadcaster.

Jan Bell of SPUC Evangelicals presented Peter with the award, saying:
"We have become particularly aware of the way in which you have been at the forefront in the defence of human life and in protecting innocent vulnerable babies. Our taxes being used to fund such dreadful practices as abortion and euthanasia, directly in opposition to God’s Word. It is part of our Christian witness to object to and campaign against such practices.

In your position as General Secretary of the Christian Medical Fellowship, you have stood firm; publishing new findings about the long term consequences for women after abortion and strengthening the position of the organisation in its ethical stand. As a leader you have been quoted by national newspapers and even been individually censored. You are targeted by anti-life commentators but are a convincing and effective spokesman for the pro-life cause in the national media. You are a key player in promoting pro-life principles in the medical profession and the BMA. You know your facts well and can be relied upon for good advice.

It is often easier to be silent on certain issues, but you have not kept silent; you have clearly stood out against anti-life legislation such as the Human Fertilisation and Embryology bill and attempts to bring in assisted suicide. You have also been instrumental in the setting up and running of a new alliance of those opposed to euthanasia.

All this has not been easy, but we know the Lord has kept you. You have stood firm through opposition and are a valiant defender of human life.

We thank God for you and for your willingness to be used by Him in the pro-life movement, and we ask you to accept this award as a token of our esteem for you and our unity in serving God together."
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SPUC is working to stop the abortion lobby's sex education plans

Antonia Tully told SPUC's 2011 annual national conference yesterday how SPUC's Safe at School campaign is working to stop the abortion lobby's sex education plans. Antonia said:
"When I researched this programme the conclusion I came to is that it is systemically designed to prime children to have sex. Primary school is all about sex and secondary school is all about stopping pregnancies through contraception and abortion".
At five to seven the focus is on naming naming body parts. The exercises in Channel Four's 'Living and Growing' programme are designed to direct children's attention to physical differences between men and women, in particular the sexual organs. This breaks down the child's natural reticence about sexual activity and diverts their normal innocent interests.

Antonia then showed one of the video clips shown to children between the ages of seven to nine. The video is a cartoon depicting a naked couple chasing each other around a bed and engaging in sexual intercourse in numerous positions. An adult voice-over explains that sex is fun and makes people happy. A young girl's voice over exclaims that 'Yes, they do look very happy'.

Since SPUC began our campaign some of the 'Living and Growing' resources which were available on YouTube have been taken down. This shows how our campaign is cutting into the sex education's lobby's plans.

In these videos and discussions there is no question of introducing the idea of marriage into the sexual equation. Antonia said:
"Living and Growing puts sexual activity on the same plane as any activity that a seven year old might normally be involved in. How will children deal with this information: is it a game? a joke? a worry? a fear? How will this affect your child?"
The evidence suggests that boys are likely to understand the information as a game or joke, while girls are likely to become distressed.

By ages nine to 11 the focus is on getting children to talk about sex with sections on 'boy talk' and 'girl talk'. Children are told that masturbation is a normal part of growing up, is a nice feeling and that they shouldn't be worried about exploring their bodies this way.

Antonia said:
"The overall effect is to plant adult issues in children's lives. This is why we named our petition for our work in schools 'Give children back their childhood'. The sex education lobby want sex to be completely normalised for children and for children to be completely sexualised."

What is being taught in schools isn't the only thing that is sexualising children, but to overlook this massive part in the sexualisation of children would be negligent to say the least.

Antonia then tackled the issue of whether a pro-life organisation such as SPUC should be fighting the battle against sex education in schools. She said:
"Sexualisation leads to premature sex, premature contraceptive sex will lead to many abortions. If we don't tackle the issue of what's happening in schools we might as well shut up shop and go home. We won't be able to communicate the pro-life message to the next generation if they are so hardened by state-sponsored sex education. This issue has everything to do with an organisation campaigning against abortion and we ignore this at our peril. One of the great tragedies of this situation is that many parents are completely unaware of what they're children are being shown and taught."
Given the nature of what is shown it is not surprising that schools are not in a rush to tell parents about what their children are being shown. The BBC  were not prepared to show the material shown to children on national TV after the watershed. Antonia commented:
"If it can't be shown to an adult population, why on earth is it being shown to children?"
Safe at School hears on a weekly basis from parents who are appalled about what is happening and want to know what they can do about it. Antonia urged parents and teachers to take with them a copy of 'Sex education in primary schools: dispelling the myths' produced by the Family Education Trust. It is important to remember that primary schools are not obliged to teach this subject at all.

There is a danger that all these dangerous SRE materials would be shifted from the SRE classes and into the national curriculum science classes, from which parents do not have the right to withdraw their children. At this stage the law does still offer parents scope to protect their children, but many parents don't realise the reality of what's happening.

There is no evidence to suggest that sex education programmes either in primary or high school reduce the rate of teenage pregnancies. £300 million of taxpayers' money has failed to reduce teenage pregnancies. Since the big push for sex education in schools began in 1995 we have seen a dramatic rise in sexually-transmitted infections.

The promotion of graphic and inappropriate sex eudcation is so central to the plans of the abortion lobby, it must be central to our plans to oppose it. The International Planned Parenthood Federation and the pro-abortion Population Council have said: 'If we can just get this new comprehenseive sex education in every school and fully implemented around the globe, we can all stop working and go home!' ('It's all one curriculum', 2011).

Antonia concluded:
"They'll know they have won when they have destroyed our children. I'm sure you'll all agree with me that this is not going to happen. We at SPUC will not stop working until we have rid our schools of these programmes."
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Sunday, 18 September 2011

SPUC launches its new schools talk

Michael Hill, SPUC's national vice-chairman and a speaker in schools, and Eileen Brydon, SPUC's education officer, have launched the new SPUC schools talk, at this weekend's SPUC 2011 annual national conference.

The new talk:
  • has been two years in production
  • has been brought up-to-date to include the latest available audio-visual resources
  • includes a discussion of difficult issues such as pregnancies caused by rape, unborn children with disabilities and population control.
  • is aimed at educating the next generation about the truth of child development in the womb and the reality of abortion
  • presents the pro-life view in an engaging and attractive way; it is hoped that the high standard of the talk will encourage more schools to invite SPUC to speak to them and therefore reach more students with the pro-life message.
Eileen Brydon told the conference:
"Every time a SPUC speaker speaks to students they are touching the hearts and minds of future generations. That is because they are speaking the truth. A SPUC schools speaker will both change and save lives".
Michael Hill told the conference:
"Children and young people are naturally pro-life. When young people learn the truth abortion most of them are appalled. Young people desperately need to hear an adult voice assuring them that their convictions are correct before they are reached by the lies of the abortion lobby".
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Pro-abortion ideology is costing lives of women in developing countries

Fiorella Nash, one of SPUC's political researchers, has delivered a powerful and deeply personal address to this weekend's SPUC 2011 annual national conference, entitled "Maternal mortality and abortion in developing countries: the need for a pro-life response". Below are some key extracts of Fiorella's excellent speech:
"I am ashamed to admit that I did not entirely appreciate how dangerous childbirth can be for both women and their babies until I became a mother myself. My eldest son, who is now five years old, would not be alive today if it were not for a skilled obstetrics team who delivered him by emergency caesarean, following a lengthy obstructed labour. My youngest child would not be alive today if it were not for skilled midwives and paediatricians who resuscitated him when he stopped breathing, and detected and treated his chest infection in a well-equipped Special Care Baby Unit, manned 24 hours a day by dedicated nurses. And I am aware that I would not be alive today to raise my children if I had not had access to excellent hospital facilities, nurses, midwives and doctors who were able to save my life when I developed complications during two out of three labours.

How many women around the world are dying in childbirth every year? Accurate numbers are very difficult to calculate for a number of reasons. So we need to be aware that we are looking at estimates and these estimates vary from between 350,000 and 600,000 maternal deaths a year, 99% of which are believed to occur in developing countries. In Britain, the maternal mortality rate is 8.3 per 100,000 live births – and incidentally, Britain does not have the lowest maternal mortality rate by any means. Pro-life Ireland and Malta have a rather better record.

The two biggest causes of maternal death (and this is very well established) are haemorrhage and sepsis.

In many cultures around the world, the mother is the lynchpin of the family and if she goes, the entire family is shattered. We need always to be aware of the human face of this tragedy.

Maternal mortality has been rightly described as 'an international disgrace' but almost as grave a disgrace is the determination by pro-abortion groups to hijack the issue in order to promote abortion around the world. The abortion lobby has a long history of exploiting the suffering of women whilst claiming to act in their best interests. Abortion has nothing to do with saving women's lives. As far back as 1992, a group of Ireland's top obstetricians and gynaecologists signed a letter in which they wrote: "We affirm that there are no medical circumstances justifying direct abortion, that is, no circumstances in which the life of a mother may only be saved by directly terminating the life of her unborn child.”

Countries such as Ireland and Malta where abortion is banned have some of the lowest maternal mortality rates in the world. Any medical procedure which involves the ending of one or both human lives involved is by definition unsafe and it is unsafe whether it occurs in Nairobi or New York. The abortion lobby has been very successful in creating a false association between ‘safe’ and ‘legal’ abortion

South Africa, which has had abortion on demand for years, has witnessed a fourfold increase in maternal mortality since a UK-funded abortion organisation set up clinics around that country. As SPUC’s Peter Smith commented: "It is farcical for the government to talk about safe abortions in situations without sterile surgical facilities, safe blood transfusion or emergency back-up. Running abortion clinics in slums, shanty towns and the bush will harm or kill women as well as killing babies."

The western obsession with promoting its own vision of sexuality onto the rest of the world is not only costing the lives of the unborn; it is costing the lives of women through neglect.

Childbirth is rendered safe by a range of entirely ethical solutions. No one has a problem with making available to women such life-saving interventions as: antenatal monitoring, trained midwives, caesarean section, blood transfusion (and with it the ability to store blood safely), good sanitation and antibiotics. There is no reason why there should be this massive ideological battle going on over the bodies of dead women and babies.

Western governments spend millions providing contraception to developing countries when one in eight people around the world, the overwhelming majority in developing countries, have no access to safe drinking water.

When the state gets involved in dictating family size, it is difficult to see how such a policy will not be coercive on some level. The population controllers are saying ‘get yourself sterilised freely or the state may one day have to force you.’

In doing this, we can reach out to those who support our principles but have never considered becoming involved in our work.

As pro-life campaigners, we know that maternal mortality is a tragedy and that abortion is not the answer, but I believe that we are under an obligation to turn that knowledge into action. There is a very real need for a campaign to lobby for good maternity care for women in developing countries."
Comments on this blog? Email them to johnsmeaton@spuc.org.uk
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